June 24, 2018
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Maine names new advocate for small business

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine has a new small business advocate, the result of staffing changes in the wake of Democrats taking control of the Legislature in November’s election.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who was sworn in two weeks ago, has appointed Peggy Schaffer as Maine’s next small business advocate, a position within the secretary of state’s office that was created by the 125th Legislature to assist businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Schaffer, who has worked in state government for the past 14 years and whose last job was as chief of staff to former Senate President Libby Mitchell, will replace Jay Martin, who was appointed by former Secretary of State Charlie Summers as the state’s first small business advocate.

In her new role, Schaffer will also serve as the staff person for the Regulatory Fairness Board, which is currently considering making two recommendations to the Legislature to improve the state’s regulatory environment and ameliorate the “adversarial relationship” that has developed between regulators and businesses.

Dunlap praised Martin for doing a great job “getting the ball rolling since the job was created.” He also welcomed Schaffer’s experience working within state government, which “makes her a perfect choice to assist small businesses in Maine with any regulatory issues they have in dealing with state agencies.”

Schaffer, who recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Bangor Daily News detailing her two-year search for a job, said she was excited for the opportunity to put her experience in state government to use.

“Small businesses often need a guide who can speak the ‘language’ of state government and understand the regulatory process to negotiate what otherwise can be a time consuming and frustrating effort,” she said in a statement. “Assisting small companies to overcome regulatory barriers is a great opportunity, and it is critical to growing our economy.”

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